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Minister insists state on the right track to tackle youth crime

Politics

Reinstating breach of bail as an offence in Queensland won’t have any impact on youth crime, the Palaszczuk Government says.

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More than 49,000 people have signed a state parliament petition, started by Redland City Mayor Karen Williams, calling for breach of bail to be listed as a crime.

Williams lodged the petition last week after the sentencing of a teen who crashed a stolen car into and killed Brisbane couple Matthew Field and Kate Leadbetter last year. The Government is appealling the sentence.

Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard ruled out reinstating breach of bail as a crime, saying most youth offenders who breach bail conditions were put in detention anyway.

“We don’t want something that didn’t work, that the court themselves couldn’t use, because it was essentially charging them twice for the same offence,” she told ABC Radio on Monday.

She said when breaching bail was an offence under the previous Newman LNP government, 185 youths found guilty didn’t get slapped with any extra punishments.

“No additional penalties, not one, were ever applied, and 90 per cent of those young people reoffended,” Linard said.

The minister said the government’s removal of the presumption of bail last year has had a much bigger impact as Queensland has three times more young people behind bars than NSW does.

About 300 teens are in detention, she says, which is 100 more than last year before the laws were changed.

“Now that was a tough measure,” Linard added.

“I know it’s a technical term, but what it essentially means is that young people have to prove that they should get bail, which is a reverse of what is the normal case in courts.”

The minister also said investing in early interventions programs would also have the biggest impact in the long run.

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